The Swingle Singers

It’s not every day you get to add to a Wikipedia article.

In Popular Culture
Mentioned in season 3, episode 23 of The West Wing, “Posse Comitatus.” As Deborah Fiderer, played by Lily Tomlin, exits a disastrous job interview with President Jed Bartlet, she is heard to wonder: “Whatever happened to the Swingle Singers?”

Wish I could prove a new theory that Scissor Sisters were inspired by this combo.

With A Shiver In My Bones

It’s a strange world when the predicted snowpocalypse under-delivers and people are all like WTF, snow? WTF? But that’s Rochester, New York. We were expecting a foot. We got four inches. School was canceled anyway. And everyone’s all shaking their fists at the sky goin’ “Zat all you got? Huh? You ain’t so bad! C’mon!”

I negotiated the snow like a champ. I should. I learned how to drive in Kent, Ohio. If you don’t know how to drive in it there you will spend a significant amount of your driving life upside down in a ditch. Funny. A few years ago when I was leaving here for there, following a fierce all-night snowstorm, I saw this dude who had overturned his Jeep. He was standing beside his car with the most befuddled look on his face. I mean, he had managed to leave the vehicle. But it was upside-down. It was beautiful.

I was asked before the storm hit (by my dear Mom) if we had plenty of provisions for the storm. Mom. This house has a chest freezer full of deer meat and a bottle of bourbon. What else could we need?

Anyway. So here’s the article I’m crowing about this morning:

According to research firm Gartner, 65 percent of self-service interactions currently escalate beyond the Web to an agent. In other words, a customer has come to your website and is unable to complete his or her transaction, and thus needs to call your organization for help.

At my previous job, I’d estimate the rate was more like 85 percent. Or worse. And this was true of pretty much every interactive portal we provided—the membership directory, the online store, the authentication. Everything. I considered it my primary professional mission to solve this problem. Had a little trouble getting the rest of the place on board with that, unfortunately. But, I really appreciated this blog post because it does an excellent job at identifying the problem, at providing it a nomenclature. The “interaction escalates beyond the Web to an agent.” I like that.

Interactive pages that require that the user make a follow-up phone call = epic fail. Such pages should work flawlessly and provide a seamless customer service experience or said organization should throw away that system with the coffee grounds and start over, and it should make said renewal its top priority.

Totus Ardeo

I had a dream last night where I had stumbled across a group conducting a performance of the Carmina Burana. I was in the audience eagerly following along in my score as per usual, but as they drew closer to the ending, they’d throw in their own little versions of movements, so I couldn’t follow them at all. To make it even worse, right before “Tempus Est Iocundum,” which is the one that nobody can WAIT to get to because it’s fun as hell to sing, they stopped and started giving out a whole bunch of awards. I couldn’t stand it, so I called them a bunch of hicks and left, but when I got to my jalopy, I found that the trunk lid was wide open. Then I had to drive down a big hill, and the interstate signs didn’t make any sense. The end.

Also, I am pleased to announce that a domain name I had purchased some years ago (for obvious reasons),, but had never used for much, is getting put to better use as of today, representing the greatest junior welterweight fighter ever.


I may be late to the party, but I have just stumbled upon something called Pomplamoose. If you check them out, I promise you, it will be the coolest thing you do today.

Pomplamoose is Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, a couple of crazy kids who met at Stanford. They formed Pomplamoose and are pioneering a damned cool way of creating and disseminating their music: The videosong.

The videosong is the WYSIWYG of popular music. They vid themselves performing live. They dub the audio. They mix a hell of a song. They create a video out of it. But every word, every strum, every drumbeat is caught live on video. It’s quite an honest way to work.

And, they can afford the honesty. Her voice is just crazy good; while their sense of arrangement is just lovely. So, go. Watch Pomplamoose.